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Dave Shearon

Eric, I think it comports quite well, assuming a good set of underlying tests reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. The quantity of on-leve reading for a student is important to the acquisition of reading skills, vocabulary, grammar, etc. All of these will show up on good achievement tests and thus be reflected in value-added gains. Plus the knowledge picked up in such reading will show up in science and social studies, and reading and writing - knowledge matters in those areas, too. I was once PTSO President at a school with a heavily constructive, group work, project-oriented approach to 8th grade. This was a school for ordinary students, many from families with significantly below average inccomes. Value-added scores wered impressive everywhere but math, and that was because they were trying to use a 6th grade set of materials from Vanderbilt that fit their pedagogy and up-grade it to the level of the students. That didn't work, and the value-added scores helped estabilsh that fact so they could move on to other approaches to the same goal.

Also, when I started studying value-added, I talked with Bill Sanders about this very point. I said that if high value-added schools were not places I would want my own children to go, then I might not be very supportive. (Too bad more federal legislators and local business leaders don't take the same approach!) He pointed to the highest scoring middle school in the state in the early years of value-added (and still so today, I think) -- Maryville Middle School. Sixth - eighth grade, no entrance requirements, at that time a 3-1 student to computer ratio, lots of projects, student presentation were regularly attended by community members, and their was a get-up-to-speed program for those who came in below reading level so they could do the work expected.

Yes, I think a great education will produce great value-added scores for high, average, and low-achieving students.


Any thoughts on how value-added comports with quality liberal education? For example, might exposure to Junior Great Books be reflected favorably in value-added scores?

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